Sometimes the signs of alcoholism or alcohol addiction are obvious. For example, when someone is constantly drinking or intoxicated, it’s clear that they are abusing alcohol, but do they have an alcohol use disorder? There are different stages of addiction, and dependency can look different for different people. When it comes to alcohol use disorder, perhaps the two most common forms of dependency are binge drinking and long-term use. Many people that struggle with alcohol addiction are what are termed functioning alcoholics. These people seem to maintain a normal life, despite their drinking habits. However, binge drinking is another form of alcohol abuse that is very common and a type of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. At Santé Center for Healing, we offer several alcohol addiction treatment programs designed to help individuals heal and recover.
The Beginning Warning Signs
It’s uncommon for someone to take their first drink and immediately become a severe alcoholic. Instead, it’s normally a process that begins with warning signs and progresses the longer you use alcohol.
The first signs of alcoholism are:
- Drinking often or in large amounts when you do drink
- Drinking in risky situations (ex: drinking and driving)
- Missing work due to drinking
- Personality changes when intoxicated
When these signs appear and you continue to drink, you likely have a drinking problem and need a substance abuse treatment program.
Behavioral Signs of Alcoholism
As you continue to drink, you will develop classic signs of alcoholism. In addition to the signs above, you may find yourself spending lots of time thinking about drinking, drinking, or recovering from bouts of drinking. You may have difficulty controlling the amount of alcohol you drink or how often you drink. Craving alcohol goes hand in hand with these signs. When you crave alcohol, you will have a difficult time not drinking or stopping before you are intoxicated, and you will spend lots of time thinking about drinking when you aren’t doing so
When you have a problem with alcohol, it begins to become a priority in your life. You may not be invited to some social functions because of your conduct when you drink. As a result, you may drift away from family and friends or get into arguments about your drinking.
Developing a tolerance to alcohol is possible. However, this means that you will need more to get the same effect. This is often seen as something to be proud of. You can “hold your liquor.” However, it’s a sign that your body is becoming accustomed to and dependent on alcohol and are in need of alcohol detox.
Physical Signs of Alcoholism
There are physical signs of alcoholism as well. Often, alcoholics lose weight because they drink rather than eat. Their eyes may be bloodshot. Broken capillaries in the nose and cheeks are common. They may have a yellow tint to their eyes or skin due to liver damage. They may develop shakes, often in the hands.
The most obvious physical sign is withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of your drinking, withdrawal can range from mild to severe. Mild withdrawal may include insomnia, restlessness, and moodiness.
Severe withdrawal can cause life-threatening seizures and should always be treated by medical professionals. Symptoms can include hallucinations, severe shakes, depression, nausea and vomiting, severe anxiety, sweating, and high blood pressure.
Functioning alcoholics seem to have their drinking under control. However, they still display signs of alcoholism. Usually, they can exercise some amount of self-control. They don’t miss work due to drinking too much. Functioning alcoholics don’t embarrass themselves at social functions. They may drink very frequently but not get drunk. They may get drunk on the weekends and not touch it through the week.
Since they can set and maintain limits, they believe they don’t have a problem. However, just like the stereotypical alcoholic, they are relying on alcohol in some way. They may be unable to relax or have a good time without it. They may use it to bring out their social side and increase their confidence. This reliance on alcohol is what differentiates someone with an alcohol problem from someone who merely enjoys alcohol.
Find the Alcohol Addiction Treatment Necessary at Sante Center for Healing
If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of alcoholism, you shouldn’t try to stop drinking on your own. Our addiction treatment programs at Santé Center for Healing can provide the support necessary to heal and recover. In addition, those struggling with alcohol use disorder can take advantage of programs like:
- Residential treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Transitional living
- Women’s alcohol rehab
- Men’s alcohol rehab